Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Tips for Building a Hand Knit Wardrobe

The last seven years have been a time of transition for me both in my personal and professional lives. I've also had corresponding transitions in my wardrobe. I've gone from working in an office environment to working from my dining room table. I lost some weight five years ago and it was enough that most of my clothing no longer fit properly. I was hesitant to buy very many new things at first because I wanted to be sure my new habits for eating and exercise stuck. About six months in I started slowly updating and buying new basics. As an aside, if you want proof that clothes that are too big make you look bigger, I heard "oh my god have you lost more weight" many times as I started wearing my new clothing. 

Working from home means I no longer have a need for the office appropriate clothing I wore in the past. I now attend many knitting events so most of what I bought is evaluated based on the question "does it work with my hand knits"?

Fashion Stylists use a number of different methods to help their clients with wardrobe planning. There are plans for recipes, uniforms and capsules. All of these plans can work for you. You can see my sweater style recipe here. Note how it goes from super casual to moderately dressy for one sweater.

What is most important is to put in the work to figure out the answer to the question "how do you want to look?" There are many style blogs and books which can take you through a series of steps to determine the answer to this question. The end result is a phrase or statement that has the ability to make all of your wardrobe (knitting) choices much easier. I've written a full post on this topic here.

Being stylish often means both fitting in and standing out at the same time. You need to be dressed appropriately for the occasion or activity and you want to express your personality. At the same time you want to be in your own comfort zone, wearing clothing that makes you feel great.

When it comes to our hand knits, usually they are the star of our outfits. We knitters don't often knit basics which could be easily purchased. I finally knit myself a plain black cardigan, however I rarely wear it when I'm getting together with knitting friends. It gets worn when I'm wearing a print dress or blouse with black in the print. Most often as an additional layer against air conditioning in the summer. When I'm with knitters, I want to wear the knits which they have the ability and knowledge to appreciate.

As to styling your hand knits, the ideas will be different based on what the item is. I think the single best tip is to look at the styling you see with the pattern. The designer, stylist and photographer have already done the work for you. You can increase the formality or make their recipe more casual by switching pants for skirts and flats for heels. Search out outfits which appeal to you when looking at knitting magazines and books. It's also a good idea to take note of what you don't like, to help clarify what really works for you.

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